Surrogates Get Paid Well for Bringing New Life Into the World
Being a surrogate for someone who isn't able to have a biological child themselves can be a rewarding way to make money. Some couples struggling with infertility choose gestational surrogacy, or having another person go through the pregnancy with their child. How much do surrogates get paid?
Due to the emotional and physical toll that a surrogate pregnancy can take on the surrogate, these individuals are compensated well for their time and sacrifice. Some women may earn thousands of dollars by making egg donations, but the more lucrative (and more time-consuming) option is to be a gestational surrogate.
How much does a surrogate make in base compensation?
Surrogates make money in several ways throughout the lengthy process of preparation, pregnancy, and childbirth. Most surrogacy agencies offer base compensation, which is a flat fee you negotiate with the agency. That base fee can vary widely, but is generally several tens of thousands of dollars per surrogacy.
As a guideline, Creative Family Connections says that base surrogate pay is between $30,000 and $55,000. Another agency, Southern Surrogacy, says the total average compensation for surrogates ranges from $38,000 to $50,000 (though that includes base pay and additional payments and expenses). Elite IVF says it pays surrogates up to $40,000.
However, you should check your options as a surrogate, as other agencies pay much higher fees. West Coast Surrogacy in Irvine, Calif. pays $60,000–$67,000 in base compensation for a first-time surrogate outside of California. Fees go up from there, with a range of $85,000–$92,000 base pay for an experienced surrogate in California.
Surrogates can make more money in supplemental payments.
In addition to a base payment plan (sometimes paid monthly throughout the surrogate pregnancy), surrogates are typically compensated additional amounts for certain expenses. Therefore, the total reimbursement a surrogate can expect will vary quite a bit.
These circumstances can result in additional payment to the surrogate:
- Experienced surrogates can make $5,000 more per pregnancy than first-timers
- Invasive medical procedures that are necessary
- Bed rest
- Child care or lost wages
- Carrying multiples
Other costs typically covered by the surrogate agency (which is paid by the intended parents):
- Travel costs for the surrogate, including hotels, meals, and mileage
- Legal fees related to negotiating the surrogate contract
- Life insurance
- Health insurance if needed
- All medical expenses unless covered by the surrogate's insurance
The amount surrogates receive includes full compensation for expenses incurred, but also numerous fees for additional stress on your body. For example, West Coast Surrogacy pays the following in additional fees:
- $3,000 signing bonus
- $300 additional monthly allowance
- $3,000 total non-accountable allowance for maternity clothes, housekeeping, massages, etc.
- $10,000 for twin pregnancy
- $20,000 for triplet pregnancy
- $1,500 embryo transfer fee
Do surrogates get paid if they miscarry?
Although it isn't a circumstance any surrogate wants to consider, not all pregnancies will be carried to term and result in a healthy live birth. Surrogates should know what to expect in the event that they experience a miscarriage during their surrogate pregnancy.
Most sources explain that surrogates are paid by the month or by milestones of the pregnancy. American Surrogacy and Circle Surrogacy, for example, both state that surrogates receive payment up to the point of their latest milestone if a miscarriage occurs. Therefore, you wouldn't receive the full compensation related to delivering a child, but you would be paid for all milestones reached.
After a miscarriage, the surrogate and intended parents can decide whether or not to attempt another embryo transfer. In that case, both parties would negotiate a new contract for a surrogate pregnancy.
Does being a surrogate cost money?
All of the expenses related to a surrogate pregnancy are assumed by the intended parents. They may pay their agency directly, which will then transfer payments to the surrogate as they reach milestones in the surrogacy journey.